Czech Republic: DSSS supporters attempt pogrom on Romani residents of Ostrava once more
Supporters of the Workers' Social Justice Party (Dělnická strana sociální spravedlnosti - DSSS) attempted yet another pogrom on Romani residents of Ostrava today shortly before 7 PM. A mob did its best to attack a residential hotel predominantly occupied by Romani tenants.
The mob threw rocks at a cordon of police officers blocking their way. Mounted police and tear gas were deployed.
There were hundreds of demonstrators, possible as many as 1 000, according to journalists' estimates. Police claim there were 500.
DSSS leader Tomáš Vandas called on those participating in his "protest against expanding residential hotels for inadaptables" to avoid violence, but during the official gathering one of the speakers used the microphone to call for an attack on a nearby residential hotel. Once the party rally was officially over, the assembled neo-Nazis set off on their march.
The mob was halted by police several dozen meters away from the closest residential hotel. Individuals on the front lines began shouting at Romani residents watching from the windows and at the riot police who were standing in their way.
Shouting and wild gestures gave way to detonations of firecrackers, stun grenades, and the sound of glass shattering as bottles were smashed. "The neo-Nazis made it all the way to the residential hotel, where they threw everything they could get their hands on," a correspondent for news server Romea.cz described the situation in Ostrava at around 7 PM.
"The mob tried to get all the way to the residential hotel. They would not respond to the police officers' calls to cease. That is why the police intervened. They have arrested several people," said Gabriela Holčáková, spokesperson for the Moravian-Silesian Regional Police.
Police will report the precise number of those arrested later. A Czech News Agency reporter witnessed the arrests of four youths who ended up face down on the ground, were handcuffed, and placed in police vehicles.
Riot police succeeded in pushing the main section of aggressive DSSS promoters away from the square and the problematic residential hotels. Clashes between them continued, however.
Protesters ran around the police cordons in the dark alleys and ambushed them with glass bottles and rocks. The scene is now covered in overturned garbage containers, broken traffic signs, and destroyed trash cans.
Police officers had to use tear gas once again to bring the situation under control. After approximately one hour of skirmishes and smaller-scale attacks, police succeeded in dispersing the mob to such a degree that the situation began to calm down.
As of 20:50 CET the situation in Ostrava remained dangerous for Romani residents, as groups of aggressive, extremist DSSS supporters are still moving about the town. The DSSS rally, led by Vandas, who is running for the lower house, was an officially announced protest "against expanding residential hotels for inadaptables" and the alleged "state failure to address the privileging of the inadaptable lifestyle".
The demonstration was announced to local authorities by Petr Borna, a DSSS member in Nový Jičín, and Petr Dopirák, a DSSS member in Ostrava. News server Romea.cz has determined that Borna is the operations manager for two residential hotels in the Mariánské hory quarter in Ostrava, one in the Bedřiška settlement and another called the Laguna.
According to information found online, Borna also operates a residential hotel in Kopřivnice, where he is a permanent resident. This past May news server "5 plus 2 média" reported on the shocking hygienic conditions of the Bedřiška residential hotel and on Borna's treatment of its occupants.
At the same time as the attempted pogrom, opponents of neo-Nazism convened an event "For tolerance between people, peaceful coexistence and good relations between neighbors" on the adjacent streets. That assembly began at around 17:00 CET.
So-called "decent citizens" who support the neo-Nazis turned out to disrupt that legally announced gathering. Police at the scene took no action and simply watched as verbal assaults were perpetrated against the people who had come to support the Romani residents of Ostrava.
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